Five Bangladeshi migrant fishermen test positive for COVID-19

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Taichung City Government Health Bureau (台中市衛生局) confirmed on Tuesday that five Bangladeshi migrant fishermen have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in quarantine at a local hospital.

The announcement came after residents living in Qingshui District (清水區) of Taichung City reported seeing numerous people being taken away by ambulance late on Monday evening, leading to suspicions that they were possible COVID-19 infection cases.

The health bureau explained that the five Bangladeshi crew members were living in dormitories provided by their employer and had undergone quarantine when they first arrived in Taiwan.

They had also taken PCR tests before boarding their boats, but the tests later came back positive with the CT value being quite high.

Taichung City Government stated that they have since asked all 19 migrant fishermen crew onboard to undergo quarantine, and are currently investigating their activity history to determine whether there could be other possible contacts.

The health bureau further stated that of the five confirmed infections, four had received one to two shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and had all submitted negative test results when they arrived in Taiwan from Singapore.

After undergoing quarantine at a quarantine hotel in Taichung for 14 days, the five crew members tested negative and were asked to relocate to the dormitory provided by their employer.

As regulations require them to receive another COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to their boarding the boats, they took another test which came back positive on Monday evening.

The fourteen other crew members have also been tested again and will be asked to quarantine while health authorities await the results.

Meanwhile, the health bureau addressed worries that the infections could be related to the Omicron variant, and explained that the results will be announced by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心), when or if it’s confirmed.